Life in the Spirit Ministries March of the Message Newsletter
My heart is full of joy at the prospect of us being able to meet in person again at our church building. To see your face or to hug you personally again will be a great joy to my heart. For those of you who will yet be on Skype, “Fear not!” By God’s grace I may be able to travel again and to come be with many of you soon also.
Of course the grand meeting for us all will be at the Gathering around Thanksgiving. Lord willing, by November we may all be able to come together. With that in mind I would ask that, for all our sakes, each of you begin to set aside money for transportation so that we might have a most wonderful reunion with tears of joy.
I realize that it may seem early to be talking about such things but I am so anxious (in a good way) that we all prepare so that every face that can be here may do so. I promise you that I will hug you each at least five times or more. You have no clue how much I long for us to be together after such a long break. I will be praying for you constantly that God will make a way for all of us to be together, including for our health, safety, finances, and all other necessities to be provided for each of us. I pray now that the Spirit will quicken you with excitement over this prospect.
It is with this in mind that, in every newsletter leading up to Thanksgiving, I will put a different banner like the one below to welcome you and remind you. I love you, miss you and long to hug you. Let us exalt His name together:
“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Ps 34:1-3).
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:18-19).
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
The very act of giving power can cause some to immediately change. They can become prideful over their newfound power. They can turn to it as a source of deliverance, etc, instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many Christians are looking for more power, but what is needed is more brokenness. The disciples were not endued with power from on High until they were of one mind and one accord, together in one place (Acts 2:1). They were not walking around cocky, but were broken over what had just happened and seeking to understand.
While it is true that they enjoyed a measure of spiritual power during the Lord’s ministry on earth, we see how even this little taste of heavenly ability puffed them up. Jesus sent them forth and gave them authority over evil spirits. So it happened that when they returned, they exclaimed, “Lord! Even the demons are subject to us through Thy name!” Even this small accomplishment made them rejoice and exalt in themselves. Jesus tells them this little bit of success is hardly worth rejoicing over (Luke 10:17-20). We also find the disciples rebuking others who used the name of Jesus to cast out demons. Why? Because “they are not of us.” Patiently, Jesus tells them to stop forbidding the others, because “he that is not against us is for us” (Luke 9:49-50). We see how quickly pride was able to gain a foothold.
What a tragedy it would have been to pour out the Holy Spirit in His fulness upon the disciples in such a condition! They were thoroughly unfit and unprepared to handle such power. Why? Not because they were insincere. No doubt they were very sincere. After all, they had forsaken everything and were following the Lord. Nevertheless, they were yet unbroken. That is to say, they were following the Lord and even had a taste of spiritual power, but they had not yet taken up the Cross. Over and over and over again, Christ said they must take up the Cross, but they themselves could not understand what He meant. They even sought to prevent the Lord from taking up HIS cross. They could not be entrusted with much power because they were not sufficiently dead to themselves. The slightest accomplishment would only be grounds for foolish boasting and further arguments to see who was to be the greatest among them (Mark 9:33-34; Luke 22:24). Hence, they were told to tarry in Jerusalem and wait until they would be endued with power from on High (Acts 1:4-5). As proud men, they were found arguing on many occasions, but as broken men they were finally in one mind and one accord. Thus, the Spirit came, and with the Spirit, the fulness of power (Acts 1:8).
Today, the call is for unity, but we need to see that unity cannot be achieved by calling people to unity. Unity is achieved when we take up the Cross and die to our minute opinions and lay down our petty arguments and prejudices. Then, and only then, will we come to one mind (Philippians 2:2-9). A broken spirit is a peaceful spirit, and is able to abide with others (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:16-18). Contentious, unbroken, hard, stubborn people can never be in one accord. The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 51:17).
More of the Lord, or Less of Me?
As Jesus calls us to the Cross, He intends to humble us before empowering us. In one sense, it is not more of the Lord that we need, but less of ourselves. We must be broken. What I mean is, like a vessel we already contain Him in His fulness. Because we are so hard and proud and depend on our own resources, very little of His fulness is seen.
The answer is not in obtaining more power from the Lord so that He and His strength might be seen, but in allowing Him to break me and humble me that I may no more hinder Him through my own foolishness, pride, natural wisdom, fleshly lusts, and divided heart.
The Pursuit of Power
Many Christians eagerly, even greedily, seek the power of God, but they resist anything that would seek to break or humble them. They want the power, but they refuse the weakness. Maybe we have never considered the meaning of the verse that says “through weakness we are made strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
So many relish the bright sunshine, gentle breeze, and singing birds, but they curse the dark night when the coyotes howl and the rain falls. When God performs as expected all is well, but when He fails to perform as expected the countenance grows dark and the soul is depressed.
What is the true definition of power to us anyway? Is it the ability to pray powerfully and give powerful words, yet we have no power over our own tongue or emotions? Power that does not come by way of weakness will ruin people such as this.
The Power of Pentecost Versus
the Power of the Cross
We must never seek the power of Pentecost without first tasting the suffering of the Cross. The Cross is Power disguised in Weakness (1 Corinthians 1:18-29). We can just as well say that spiritual power obtained apart from the weakness of the Cross will corrupt. This is why the Lord leads us first to Calvary (Luke 9:23). Then on to Pentecost. We dare not bypass Calvary in our haste to experience Pentecost.
We should be afraid of listening to anyone who teaches us about the power of God but does not teach us about the necessity of brokenness (1 Corinthians 2:2-5). Invariably the power, once received, will pollute the spirit and pride will set in, rather than a heart for taking up the Cross.
The Seasons of the Spirit
God desires us to cooperate with His Spirit. When we come to Him and present ourselves as instruments to be used, He begins to use us. The problem is that so many present themselves only as servants and vessels of His power when He wants us to be submitted totally to Him in brokenness for whatever purpose He may want to use us. That is not usually our mentality.
Another problem along this line is our mentality concerning surrender. Many view it as if God is trying to bring us to periodic places of brokenness for specific and maybe spectacular uses. What I mean is, only every so often do we even present ourselves to God, and many times it is in the throes of a church service that is stirring our faith to “come forward and get the power.” I believe that we will experience all the power we can handle when we come truly broken before the Lord, wanting ONLY His will.
Below are two videos - a blog Randy shared this month as well as one of the most recent Firstborn classes!